Bus from Portofino to Volcano Bay

FallsChurchDad

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 13, 2014
Anyone actually take the bus/shuttle from Portofino Bay to and from Volcano Bay? Is it a bus or a shuttle? Can you fit a double stroller on it pretty easily?

There is not much info online except that, whatever it is, it comes every 20 minutes.

We are trying to decide between two options: (1) 5 nights at Portofino vs. (2) 5 nights in a family suite at Cabana Bay, with one throwaway night at Royal Pacific in the middle, to get 2 days of EP.

Option #1 is about $280 more expensive than option #2. Kids are 8, 5 and 1, and the trip is in August. There doesn't seem to be much for the one-year-old at Volcano Bay, but the older two love waterparks, so it would be good to maybe make a couple of half-day trips over there. The real driver of this trip is that I've read the first three books of Harry Potter with our older two sons, and they both loved them and are super into everything Harry Potter now, but August is the only time we can go, so I am somewhat dreading the actual park experience with the crowds, heat and humidity.

For Volcano Bay, it would be a lot easier to just walk from Cabana Bay, but if the bus from Portofino is not too painful, then it would be nice to stick with Portofino so we'll have the express pass for all 5 days in the main parks (we know EP doesn't help us in VB).

Any experience/advice/thoughts are much appreciated!
 

bobbie68

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Hi I have not brought a stroller on a bus at Universal but would think you could put a double stroller on. Yes it is buses not shuttles. Our last two summer visits we put a couple of days at Cabana Bay specifically for Volcano Bay. However, with that said my family loves Cabana Bay and enjoys staying there. I have two teens (17) now and they love it. The amenities here are great for families. The lazy river is my favorite.

in 2017 we did a week at Cabana Bay and did a throw away room at Royal Pacific to get the express pass for two days. I did however, have a VIP tour planned for another.
Last year I spent one night at Cabana Bay (two days for Volcano Bay) then transferred to Portofino for 4 nights. These two resorts are my families favorite. Also we enjoy doing split stays so that is not a problem.

My personal opinion is that you would be probably be fine at Portofino and using the bus. It usually starts about an hour before early entry and comes often. It drops you close to the main entrance. However, we love being able to walk from CBBR to VB. It has it's own private entrance and is nice to be able to take a break if we wanted. We probably will continue to do split stays when we are going to VB.

Good luck with your decision any other questions just ask!
 

Lynne G

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 29, 2009
We've taken the bus from RPR and the Portofino to VB. They can get crowded, people standing in the aisles, and they tend to share. Like RPR, we also went to SF before going to VB, and at the Portofino, we shared with the Hard Rock. But the ride was always quick, and we always saw strollers of all sizes, and most have had them packed up as the bus arrives. That being said, of course, walking from CB would be the fastest, as no waiting for the bus, or standing in some really long lines. I will say, though, when there was a huge line waiting for the bus, Universal was generally good at sending more buses to manage the crowds.

We have never stayed at CB, but the idea of walking into VB is attractive. We just so enjoy having the express pass from the 3 resorts that give it to you with your stay. For the first time, we are spending a few days at SF, as by the time we decided our stay at RPR needed to be longer, the rates became so high, made sense to spend a few days at SF before spending longer at RPR this Fall. Oh, and in the summer, yep, staying at the Portofino the whole time. We will use the bus to VB, if we decide to go there, which we probably will. We enjoy the Portofino's large rooms, and really like the decor around the resort. And, it tends to be cheaper than RPR and HRH most of the time.

For that amount of money, would getting express passes for the the kids in the parks worth it? Also, switching hotels does take time. I guess you have to decide, is staying in one place, or splitting to save is the best for our family.

Whatever your choose, have a great time. Not sure when you will be in August, be we will be there in August too. I love the heat, and always pack cheap rain jackets.
 
  • FallsChurchDad

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2014
    Thanks both for the great replies!

    So let me ask - for an August 11-16 first-time trip with young kids, what would you pick: (1) 5 nights at Portofino, or (2) 5 nights in a family suite at Cabana Bay, with one throwaway night at Royal Pacific in the middle, to get 2 days of EP?

    [Just to note -- The options above are the only options we are considering. My wife doesn't want to do a split stay, because we want to do nap time in the hotel for the toddler as much as possible. Also, the pricing is not great on the split stays, because we got good rates on the options above by booking Stay More Save More a few months ago. So we will pick either option 1 or 2, and then cancel the other.]

    At $280 less, it's not a big price difference, but I am leaning towards option 2, because I think being so close to Volcano Bay in August is a big advantage for us, and 2 days of EP in the middle of the trip might be all we really need. We will probably do rope drop a park every day, take a long mid-day break, and then go back to a park for 2-3 hours every night, whether or not we have EP. But Portofino seems really nice (the regular Portofino room is even bigger than the CBR family suite) and 5 days of EP will give us a lot of flexibility.
     

    Lynne G

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2009
    Falls, that is a tough question. For me, I've done "throw away" rooms before, and have no problem doing so when I think it's what we need, but never for Universal.

    But what you really need to ask is, are 2 days enough for the older kids to go through the express line in the parks as many times as they want? And the other question is, how many times do you want to do VB? Know that the pools at both hotels are very nice (fun lazy river at CB) and (slides at Portofino's pools). So, if you have pool time at the resort, would that make the kids happy with just one day at VB, using a bus or, we want to spend many a day a VB?

    I don't know your style of touring the parks and water park. My kids are much older than yours, and they both really like the Portofino. My stay starts the day you leave, but we are staying at the Porotofino, also for 5 nights. Could we have booked the CB instead, at a cheaper price? Yes. And I won't book a "throw away" CB room. Bus for the times we want to go to VB, is fine with us. Anyway, that's my take.

    Decision still has to be yours, after considering what you family really would enjoy the most.
     

    DisneyMomx7

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2004
    I would do 5 days at Portofino. EP is priceless to us in the August heat. We’ve taken the bus to Volcano Bay from both HRH and RPR and never had a problem. This year we are doing 7 nights at Portofino with tickets that include Volcano Bay. Portofino has a great pool for kids too!
     

    SA mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2012
    We just stayed 5 nights at Hard Rock and used the bus to VB. It’s really easy. The buses are very similar to Disney buses. We left the Hard Rock about 8:30 and the bus was maybe quarter full. It was open at 8 for ealy admission. There was no reason to be there earlier. We found our super shady spot by 8:45. Then we left around 3 and the bus was again about a quarter full and it is shared with PB. We would have stayed longer, but the girls wanted to try to get in line for Hagrid again.

    And FYI, if you want an easy nap each day, check out the Hard Rock. It was a 5 minute easy walk to the front gate of Universal Studios. And the pool is amazing fun with lots of splash pads for little kids and a zero entry to the main pool.
     
  • christophfam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2002
    There’s no way I’d give up express for part of my trip to stay at CB, especially with the heat and crowds in August. Plus you’ll have buses to the parks at CB. Nap time will be much less stressful taking the boats from the parks to PB for those midday breaks.
     
    Last edited:

    FallsChurchDad

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2014
    Thanks to everyone who responded. We are going with Portofino. We locked in $269/night with the SMSM offer a few months ago. RPR and Hard Rock have consistently been more expensive, and now they are WAY more expensive, so we will stick with Portofino. I am sure naptime would have been easier with the other two deluxe options, and I would have liked the family suite at Cabana Bay, but I think Portofino will work well for us.
     

    DisneyMomx7

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2004
    I think you will be very happy with your choice. To me express pass and being able to take the water taxi trumps being able to walk to Volcano Bay! We will actually be at Portofino the same time as you- August 12-19
     

    nwcutie

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 22, 2013
    I think you chose well - the Beach pool at Portofino is great for kids, express pass rocks, AND the rooms at Portofino are very generous. We enjoyed it a lot. My boys liked the space at CB (they were 19 & 26) but for little ones, Portofino rooms are definitely large enough. (For example, we shared a room at Port Orleans when the boys were 10 & 17 and managed just fine and that was much smaller!)

    Have fun!

    ~ Marci
     
  • DreamsElaine

    Magic Maker
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2019
    The bus from Portofino to Volcano Bay is very painless. It's about a 5 minute ride. I also agree with the above that having Express Pass is completely worth it!
     

    robl45

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2014
    You can walk to Portofino. The boats usually take longer. I will be staying there as well at the end of the month. RPR is actually slightly cheaper now but they are doing renovations and no slide. I really wanted the hardrock since its such an easy walk but its so expensive. We did the bus one time to volcano bay. It was not exactly a regular schedule. Was probably my least favorite thing about universal.
     

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